March 2, 2015

Memo: Oppose the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

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Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) have introduced S.615 – the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), which claims to merely provide Congressional oversight of a nuclear agreement with Iran. In reality, INARA goes beyond an appropriate oversight role, and risks undermining negotiations and killing a good deal by changing the rules of the game midstream.

Undermines U.S. Negotiating Leverage

Negotiations have hit their final stretch, but INARA changes the rules of the game for our negotiators and risks scuttling a deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon. 

  • This bill would block a deal from being implemented for 60 days.
  • This bill enables Congress to pass a “Joint Resolution of Disapproval” that would block the President from implementing a deal by revoking his authority to waive or suspend sanctions.
  • By threatening to delay and revoke the President’s waiver authorities, this bill creates uncertainty that the U.S. can suspend sanctions, let alone ever lift them.

Moves the Goalposts

This bill plays into the claims of Iranian hardliners who say the U.S. cannot be trusted to lift sanctions under a deal but will instead shift pressure to other issues.

  • The bill requires the President to certify every 90 days that Iran has not supported terrorism against the U.S., which is beyond the scope of the already complex nuclear deal.
  • If the President fails to make these certifications, there would be an expedited process for Congress to pass legislation to re-impose sanctions and undo the deal.
  • By including terrorism issues, the bill risks signaling that Congress is shifting the terms of a deal and would re-impose nuclear sanctions even if Iran upholds the deal. 

A Dangerous Last-Minute Interference

Those who orchestrated the Netanyahu speech debacle have shown they will stop at nothing to defeat this President’s diplomatic efforts. This bill entrusts them with new tools to kill a deal.

  • Congress can have an oversight role and additionally will decide whether or not to finalize the deal by lifting sanctions. But this legislation goes beyond appropriate oversight.
  • The US is working to get Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany and Iran on board to agree on a nuclear deal.
  • Adding 535 new negotiators to the talks is a mistake that risks isolating the U.S. instead of Iran.
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